One of the most confusing and potentially contentious topics when it comes to estate planning is where the assets go if one or both parents die without a will. This can be especially complex if a parent has remarried. You and other Florida residents with blended families may be interested in learning what can happen if a parent dies, leaving behind a surviving stepparent.
Dying without a will is also called dying intestate. When there is no will, the remaining assets go through probate. According to The Florida Bar, the courts determine what happens to these assets if someone dies intestate. The outcome might not be as you hoped or expected, especially if your parents divorced and remarried.
For example, say your father remarried. After he passes away, your stepmother informs you he did not write a will. If your stepmother has no children of her own, she would inherit your father’s assets, rather than you and your siblings. If you have step-siblings, your stepmother would receive half of the assets, and your father’s biological children would inherit the other half.
This can result in an undesirable scenario, as you can imagine. You may get along with your stepparent, but on the other hand, you or your siblings may feel like your stepparent should not receive any of your inheritance, especially if your parent remarried later in life. Having a will can ensure numerous surviving family members receive an inheritance, rather than all of it going to a stepparent. Since this topic can be complex, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.